BEIRUT/January 14, 2018 (AP)(STL.News) —A bomb went off in a car in southern Lebanon on Sunday, wounding its Palestinian owner, a member of Hamas, said the Lebanese military and the Palestinian militant group.
It was not immediately clear who carried out the bombing in the city of Sidon or why the Palestinian, identified as Mohammed Hamdan, was targeted.
Shehab, a Gaza-based Hamas news agency, quoted Ayman Shanaa, a Hamas official in Sidon, as saying Hamdan was “one of the movement’s cadres.” It is not clear what his role was.
Several armed factions are based in Lebanon’s 12 Palestinian refugee camps where the state has no jurisdiction. Rivalry between them often leads to clashes. The largest Palestinian refugee camp is located in Sidon.
A Lebanese security official said the bomb, no bigger than 400 grams (14 ounces), was placed under the car seat. The official, who identified Hamdan as a Hamas member, spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
The official Lebanon News Agency said the explosion went off as Hamdan was getting into the car.
Sidon Mayor Mohammed Saudi said Hamdan was undergoing surgery at a local hospital. He was slightly injured, according to Shanaa.
The explosion badly damaged the vehicle, causing a large fire and sending black smoke rising above the port city, about 27 miles south of the capital Beirut. The explosion caused some damage to nearby buildings and cars. Security forces cordoned off the area and firefighters put out the blaze.
In 2006, two members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group were killed in the same neighborhood in Sidon when a bomb planted in a vehicle detonated as they passed near it. Israel was blamed for the attack. Lebanon is officially at war with Israel. The last war in 2006 ended in a stalemate.
Political assassinations were common in Lebanon for years following the end of the country’s civil war in 1990. But they have subsided in recent years and the delicate sectarian-based political system has largely been stable.